Militants kill Pakistani soldier near Peshawar | world | Hindustan Times
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Militants kill Pakistani soldier near Peshawar

world Updated: Nov 15, 2008 14:08 IST
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Militants fired a mortar shell into a village near the troubled Pakistani city of Peshawar on Saturday, killing one soldier and wounding another, an official said. Surging violence in and around the capital of Pakistan's northwest region highlights how Taliban and al-Qaida militants have gained ground along the Afghan border.

In the past three days, unidentified gunmen have killed an American aid worker, abducted an Iranian diplomat and shot and wounded two foreign reporters in Peshawar.

Zafrullah Khan, a commander of the paramilitary Frontier Constabulary, said one mortar shell hit a camp in the village of Michni on Saturday morning, wounding the two soldiers, one of them fatally.

Michni borders Pakistan's semiautonomous tribal belt, where militants have established strongholds from which to attack US forces in neighboring Afghanistan as well as targets in Pakistan. To relieve the threat to Peshawar, troops have launched a series of operations in recent months, including strikes from army helicopters on Friday that police said killed 12 suspects. A boat carrying dozens of villagers fleeing the fighting capsized as it crossed a river north of Peshawar on Friday. All made it to the shore unharmed.

Hundreds of thousands of people have already fled a three-month army offensive in the nearby tribal region of Bajur. US officials concerned about the escalating insurgency in Afghanistan have praised the crackdown by the Pakistani army, which says it has killed 1,500 insurgents and flattened several towns and villages.